It's Not Technology That Counts
Perspective is a strange quality. If you have ever had a look at some of the art work which pre-dates the 17th Century, and then compared this with later works you can clearly see how perspective becomes more and more important. Brunelleschi is credited with introducing mathematical, geometric perspective into art. We don’t need to immerse ourselves too deeply into the esoteric history of art to appreciate that perspective changes the way you see things; perspective really is everything.
In terms of the internet, and modern information technology, we are so used to thinking about computers, code, telecommunications, satellites, download speeds, devices, websites the Word Wide Web and the entire collection of ‘Tech’ which defines our modern world for a great majority of people this is what everything ‘Internet’ is – we look to technology smarts, to coders and technicians, to experts and designers, to the ‘high priests of technology’ for guidance, for skills.
However let’s stop here for a second. Let’s take a look at what we are actually seeking to achieve.
When the Radio first emerged in our society, regardless of whether you think Marconi, or Tesla invented it first, we had a flowering of the new technical class. In order to get Radio working at scale you need lots of technology, powerful transmission and relay kit, huge aerials, vacuum tube amplification – but you also need other types of talent to actually present ‘content’ to the listening audiences.
This really is an accurate comparison, a parallel range of cultural activity. Television and Radio were the previous generation of communications technology, the last great ‘Revolution’ this technology transformed our society in ways which were alarming to many. The world of 1890 was unrecognizable by the time 1925 came round, in a mere 30 years the ‘modern world’ came into being.
Through being able to reach millions of people, transmission of programs, discussions, music, drama, debates, political speeches, in fact the entire spectrum of cultural activity people en masse were influenced, directed into new ways of thinking; the power of ‘Broadcast’ was manifested.
The Broadcast Paradigm
This represents the paradigm of the Broadcast era.
The powerful and wealthy in our society were able to gain control and absolute management of this broadcast culture. Nobody was able to present broadcast content without the permission, licensing of the established powerful groups in society.
If we can look at the period of history from 1900 to 1996 we could definitely call this the ‘Broadcast Era’.
However, from around 1996 we began to experience the emergence of a quite different paradigm. This new platform is distinctly different to that of Broadcast, it is ‘Interactive’, it has a two-way dynamic.
This is the important perspective. This is what is responsible for the massive shifts in mass behavior and the large scale changes in western society.
This two-way dynamic is not as easy to control, for the propagandists, the powerful established groups it is suddenly no longer a done deal that they can present their world view and have a majority of people in thrall, we are not passively sitting at home absorbing a sequence of broadcast content. While we still ‘binge-watch’ series, and other productions, we do so in our own time, when we decide it is to be. We are no longer directed by the schedule of broadcast authorities, and by derivation we have ceased to look to central authorities for news, information – it is very much a question of how well you can present an influential piece of content.
We have arrived at the point where ‘Attention’ has shifted.
Yes, technology is the enabling hardware and software which allows it to exist, but it is the ‘Content’, the responses to that content, the ability to capture attention which now determines outcomes.
Online Video Killed The T.V Star
Just like the Radio Stars, the Television networks, the personalities which presented the broadcast content and gained powerful positions , developed valuable skills which could be harnessed by those wealthy and powerful enough to buy their services and ‘air time’ -we now have a very different breed of communications experts and talent.
The two-way dynamic of the internet, of WWW publications, of ‘Podcasts’, Videos, text means that we now have to employ vastly different ways to reach the people we seek to deal with.
The Power Struggle
Although we might at one level consider all of this to be ‘obvious’, it is really a matter of perspective, our mind set, our intentions, our authenticity is now not so easy to disguise, with Broadcast we were able to simply talk at people, and they would absorb the message – now everyone can talk back at you and ask questions, look you up and study your history.
There is a power struggle going on. The established economic, political and social groups which gained their power and position by virtue of the Broadcast era, being able to transmit their message, their carefully constructed image and stories to us all, these are now struggling and scrambling to hold on to their position. The two-way dynamic is enabling different groups, different stories and messages to be presented. This is what people mean by ‘Disruption’.
Because this term has become something of a ‘buzz word’, a cute throw away expression we often do not fully grasp what is happening.
The remains of the broadcast era, the diminished audience, from which our attention has shifted still holds a latent power. The mass media from that era is shouting ‘Fake News’, ‘Don’t trust the Internet’, ‘Beware!’ – the genie however is well and truly out of the bottle.
Anyone who can recognize this macro shift, who can muster the chutzpah and develop the skills to begin presenting, can be a player, can be an ‘influencer’.
The wheel is in motion, the roulette ball is careening across the red and the black squares; all bets are off.
New media, new platforms, new talent, a shifting in the world order.
The people in western countries are beginning to awaken to the new opportunities and possibilities. A new breed of entrepreneur and opportunist, a totally different means to reach global populations and specific groups.
Quite simply, the perspective of the two-way world is transforming our society forever; you can choose to be a player or a spectator, but you cannot ignore what is taking place.